Title – Serpentine
Author – Jonathan Kellerman
Published – 2021
Genre – Crime fiction
It’s no surprise that the backlog of books I have to review (and distracting news over the last two years that’s impacted my reading) means that “bookpost” has pretty much dried up. However one stalwart publisher keeps me on their list and for that I am exceptionally grateful as they publish Jonathan Kellerman’s books!
This is number 36 in the Delaware / Sturgis series and it has a bit of a ‘cold case’ premise. A self-made millionaire inadvertently pulls a few strings and gets Sturgis’ help in trying to solve the murder of her mother, shot dead on Mulholland Drive 36 years ago. This is something of a ‘side of desk’ project – endorsed by his superiors but leaving him to get on with it on his own – but of course he has Delaware.
The passage of so much time and the flimsy previous investigations obviously hinder their progress. The plot starts with a lot of dead ends but slowly, as Sturgis and Delaware keep at the individual threads it all starts to unravel. Chasing down all the possible leads they find that the woman’s death may not be the only one connected to a more hedonistic time in the city.
There’s no escaping the issues with having a series that has continued for so long – either the premise must change or the stories become formulaic. In some aspects there has been a progression through the books, it’s not often that Delaware actually draws on his child psychology occupation in the way he did in the early books, Sturgis has become more of a maverick. But – the main characters remain the same and their interests (food, guitars) and location (LA) haven’t changed so there’s going to be a certain familiarity between the books. And I like the fact that I know what I’m going to get and it really fits the bill as the sort of crime fiction I enjoy. Long may it continue.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.